Social Policy Analysis

Social Policy Analysis
102 Herzstein Hall

Melissa Marschall
Program Director

The central focus of Rice University's Social Policy Analysis program is policy design, analysis, and communication. Interdisciplinary in nature, the curriculum’s emphasis is on integrating rigorous instruction in theory and method with hands-on, skills-based instruction by social science faculty. The primary goal of the program is to train Rice students to obtain the specialized knowledge, skill and experience to be leaders in the field of social policy analysis.

The Social Policy Analysis program focuses on the evaluation of alternative interventions that proposed to improve human well-being. Graduates will be able to answer questions like: Which early interventions lead to greater educational attainment for low-income children? Which juvenile rehabilitation programs are more likely to reduce the recurrence of criminal behavior? How does healthcare policy influence our daily health behaviors? Without evidence-based research and rigorous evaluations to test these ideas, there is no way to know which solutions work and for whom. In a time of limited resources and rising demands, our leaders need the analytical expertise to make a demonstrable, sustained impact on the most pressing issues facing our cities and nation. The Social Policy Analysis program will train Rice students to meet these needs. 

Social Policy Analysis does not currently offer an academic program at the graduate level. 

Director and Undergraduate Advisor

Melissa Marschall, Political Science

Advisory Board

Flavio Cunha, Economics
Ruth Lopez Turley, Sociology 
Robert Stein, Political Science
Chase Lesane Brown, Psychology 

Affiliated Faculty

Dominic Boyer, Anthropology
Paul Brace, Political Science
Jenifer Bratter, Sociology
Tony N. Brown, Sociology
Sergio Chavez, Sociology
Flavio Cunha, Economics
Justin Denney, Sociology
Elaine Ecklund, Sociology 
James Elliott, Sociology
Chris Fagundes, Psychology
Bridget Gorman, Sociology
Vivian Ho, Economics
Mark Jones, Political Science
Rachel Kimbro, Sociology
Stephen Klineberg, Sociology
Chase Lesane-Brown, Psychology
Melissa Marschall, Political Science 
Steve Murdock, Sociology
Nancy Niedzielski, Linguistics
Robert Stein, Political Science
Ruth Lopez Turley, Sociology
Kenneth Wolpin, Economics


For Rice University degree-granting programs:
To view the list of official course offerings, please see Rice’s Course Catalog
To view the most recent semester’s course schedule, please see Rice's Course Schedule

Social Policy Analysis (SOPA)

Description and Code Legend

Note: Internally, the university uses the following descriptions, codes, and abbreviations for this academic program. The following is a quick reference: 

Course Catalog/Schedule

  • Course offerings/subject code: SOPA

Program Description and Code

  • Social Policy Analysis: SOPA

Undergraduate Degree Description and Code

  • Bachelor of Arts degree: BA

Undergraduate Major Description and Code

  • Major in Social Policy Analysis: SOPA